I wrote a poem shortly after my divorce. In those hard days I was “a traveler,” driving lonely roads often still as an active journalist. I was utterly dependent on my most blessed Honda CRV, which always carried me safely on. I often listened to the music of my friend Fernando Ortega to get through the long drive home – “home” being a place that I still had not figured out, having had to create a new kind of life after 24 years of marriage.
On my travels late one night I passed a car accident on a mountain road. Fern’s Song “Traveler” was playing as I passed the scene slowly, glancing into the surreal picture — seeing only a young woman sitting along the side of the road being helped by a man with big hands — maybe a fireman, I couldn’t see for sure since the scene faded quickly. The image of that face in those hands has always stayed with me, seeing her fear, noting his tender consolation amid darkness and fog and glaring lights.
I felt it was a picture of my life. So I wrote this poem:
Wrapped in a blanket by the road
a man in canvas bends low to lift her face,
fragile glass in meaty hands,
frozen eyes swallowed in fog.
He turns her face toward the light.
She is lost at the mountains at night.
Remember the traveler, heavenly Father,
on the roadside wrapped in wool
no arm to reach you, lost
in a cloud
her eyes can’t see
those mighty hands that move her face toward light.
Heavenly Father, remember the traveler on the side of the road in a cloud
on a cold night.